The Grandmaster Strategist

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This is an alternate history. Decades after the fall of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the world is still in chaos, although there is hope for reunification.

Of poor background, Jiang Zhe, styled Suiyun, has finally, after ten years of hard work, passed the imperial examinations and become a scholar within Hanlin Academy. Unwittingly, he becomes involved in the succession dispute of the Great Yong Dynasty. He faces conspiracies and machinations and countless battles of strength and wits. Intending to avoid court politics, he ultimately has no choice but to become involved. With no alternative, Jiang Zhe can only follow the crowd, joining the chaotic political turmoil. In this conniving world, he uses his intelligence and knowledge to provide for himself and his companions a stable environment to survive.

Watch nations fall, great men rise, and supreme martial artists kneel before the quiet whispers of a frail, unassuming scholar.

Associated Names
One entry per line
TGS
一代军师
Related Series
N/A
Recommendations
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Everlasting Immortal Firmament (3)
Gu Fang Bu Zi Shang (2)

Latest Release

Date Group Release
02/21/18 Wuxiaworld v6c8
02/09/18 Wuxiaworld v6c7
02/07/18 Wuxiaworld v6c6
02/05/18 Wuxiaworld v6c5
05/20/17 Wuxiaworld v6c4
05/19/17 Wuxiaworld v6c3
05/18/17 Wuxiaworld v6c2
05/17/17 Wuxiaworld v6c1
05/13/17 Wuxiaworld v5c41
05/12/17 Wuxiaworld v5c40
05/11/17 Wuxiaworld v5c39
05/10/17 Wuxiaworld v5c38
05/05/17 Wuxiaworld v5c37
05/04/17 Wuxiaworld v5c36
05/01/17 Wuxiaworld v5c35
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45 Reviews sorted by


Gopper
Gopper rated it
December 5, 2016
Status: c27
Absolutely fantastic novel and translation. The quality is up there with Deathblade with the footnotes and grammar.

The novel is not your typical wuxia novel. The MC can not cultivate, the story has nothing to do with cultivating. Instead it focuses on the political intrigue set in ancient china. The MC is a scholar, and stays a scholar throughout the novel, but the way he impacts the majority of lives around him, the country, with his masterful prose/poetry is astounding. The drama is nail biting.
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iampsyx
iampsyx rated it
December 4, 2016
Status: c26
This novel is short of a masterpiece.

World-building is excellent, characters are brilliantly fleshed out, and the prose is beautiful. If only it had more focus on wars and strategies then I would have loved it all the more, but it is a great story all in all. The translator did a terrific job! The chapters are pretty long (about 5-6k words?), and some knowledge of Chinese historical events might make it easier to read, but a clueless person like me whose only background was reading Kingdom (manga) and Chang... more>> Ge Xing (manhwa) was still able to join the ride. The Grandmaster Strategist needs more love! <<less
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ieatp-ssy
ieatp-ssy rated it
October 18, 2018
Status: v5c17
Novelupdates. com specifies that reviews should be on the story itself, and not on the translation work. I find this particularly difficult to do, since what I am reading is a translation of the story, and not the original text. Hence, this review is of the English translation published at Gravity.

So far, I've read what I believe to be the halfway point of the entire novel. Though I can't tell you anything about the second half, so far, the novel itself is worth 5-stars. I'll get to the problems a... more>> little bit later.

This novel is unusual, since it's more a drama than action piece. There is action, of course, but only there to propel the plot forward, which is a stark difference from most CN webnovel, where the action itself is the highlight. If you want something different than most other translated CN webnovels out there, this is the one.

The protagonist -- for this novel, I think calling him an "MC" somehow diminishes -- is basically a strategist. He's not the Man, but he's the man behind the Man. He does advance his own agenda, but so far, he's also in service of others.

He's not the most powerful out there, and so he surrounds himself with powerful people. He navigates the halls of power much like he would a battlefield, with brains, wit, pluck and a little bit of luck. This makes things tricky, since his enemy is often the man he serves. Every challenge brings him to the next one, which is even more dangerous and grander plots need be hatched, to ensure not only victory, but survival, most of the time.

If you enjoy ancient Chinese politics, military strategy, intrigue, rudimentary espionage and the like, this novel is for you. It's intelligent, doesn't insult its readers or plays to the lowest common denominator. Having said that, it is definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Some intelligence is required to enjoy the tale.

The action is also more subtle. It's more wuxia than xianxia, lending a little more credibility to the story that wants to root itself in more realism, rather than in abject fantasy.

That's what I get... from the story. Now let's talk about the problems.

Since I can't read the original text, I am depending on the translation to provide style and mood. I can't read the original text, but I'd like to imagine that the original text would be written in a more lyrical fahion, similar to how Shakespeare writes his dialogues. I can be wrong, but I can only imagine.

English translation would be hard-pressed to convey this. English adaptation would do it, but that's a different skill than translating.

In the first half, the translation team does a fairly good job. The tone of the translation is serious, befitting the subject matter of the story, which in itself is serious and sometimes tension-filled. However, sadly, something changes halfway.

I don't know if there is a change in translator, but there's definitely a change of editor, and from the halfway point, we start getting smart-ass comments from editor (always in parentheses like these), shouting loudly, "Hey, look at me, I can come up with zingers, and put it right in the midst of the text you're reading!"

Worse, one of the translators started following up with his own T/N's, shouting "Hey, I can come up with better zingers!"

It went on to a point that in one paragraph I read, there were four to five lines of T/N's and E/N's. In a story with a sarcastic and/or humorous note, this would probably not be so bad. But in this story, which takes a more somber and serious tone, it is completely distracting. It's like walking into a dramatic movie, and there are kids talking loudly next to you. I'm presuming that the translators are, indeed, young people, based on the notes showing up.

Having said that, fan-translation is a voluntary labour of love, and presumably none of these people are getting paid, nor am I paying to read the translation, so it isn't fair for me to tell them to 'cut it out.' Everyone's tolerance levels are different, but I can tell you it's getting difficult to enjoy the story, at this point.

And so, unfortunately for me, the only thing I can do is to 'change the channel.' I've stopped reading at v5c17. It's been an enjoyable read, and hopefully someday into the future, someone can do this novel justice. I sure would like to know what happens next.

Enjoy! <<less
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Pradeepwinks
Pradeepwinks rated it
May 12, 2018
Status: v6c8
This is a well written novel that doesn’t try to be excessively intelligent, yet constant praise of MC as intelligent is a little annoying. He alone will be scheming and nobody will scheme against him. There were some interesting schemes, yet few places that’ll be annoyingly childish. It’s slow, good mix of characters, good plot, yet some people might find its not interesting. Regardless it’s notch above most of xinxia/wuxia novels I read.
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Nashi00
Nashi00 rated it
March 5, 2018
Status: v3c11
GOTTA LOVE THIS NOVEL!

I admit, it was a little too bland and dry for me to keep reading in the beginning before 10 or so chapters with too much information so it was hard for me to read. I was going to put it on-hold but then I kept reading anyways... I DON'T REGRET IT.

The MC looks weak but he's actually smart af, cool and black bellied.
Xiaoshunzi is perfect loyal to the MC, he's so cool and cute, I actually ship those two but we all know they're completely... more>> straight.

It is so well written, detailed and interesting, I'm just happy I read it... I NEED MORE STRATEGY NOVELS LIKE THIS ONE. <<less
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paulquiorra
paulquiorra rated it
February 10, 2018
Status: v3c41
It really sucks when you go into a novel expecting it to be really good because of the 5 stars that it's getting, then you find out that there's nothing special about it.

I read this novel expecting it to have good dialogue. If you see the tags and read the synopsis, you'll know that this novel will have a lot of talking. And yes, it has. But oh god does the dialogue suck as hell. The dialogue makes you feel like the characters are reading an essay for the reader... more>> instead of actually having a conversation with another character. And it's always full of exposition. Maybe you wont understand what I mean if all your life the only novels you've read are chinese webnovels. Coz I've read quite a few and I've never seen one with good dialogue. Even the MC's comebacks whenever someone insults him arent as epic as how the author tries to make it sound because it feels like he's reading an essay instead of just shutting them down with a few sentences.

But the story is good. Characters are pretty good but wouldve been 100x better if the dialogue was good because that would add a lot to their character.

I've been complaining but I'm still going to keep reading because I really wanna know Changle's ending.

And go to topwebfiction if you wanna read some great webnovels or just tired of the ch/jp ones. Even 'The Wandering Inn' with its really annoying MC has a lot better dialogue than this. <<less
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pablich
pablich rated it
February 5, 2018
Status: v6c5
I'm so incredibly happy it's back. To me, it is one of the best wuxia novels I've read so far (including Gu Long's and Jin Yong's novels).

Sorry for any grammar/spelling mistakes, English is not my first language.
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feyries
feyries rated it
December 11, 2017
Status: v4
This novel is definitely extremely different from your usual, standard wuxia novels. I'll elaborate below:

Read this novel if you like:

  • Incredibly detailed, complicated plot points where there is buckets of foreshadowing and it seems like the author actually has a plan and is following it
  • Minor characters that you will end up falling in love with, and that actually also go through character growth and aren't there just to prop up the MC (hello Prince of Qi you gorgeous man >.<)
  • A realistic (well, more realistic) depiction of court intrigue and politics
  • No harems
  • Beautiful poetry (seriously sublime, 10/10 would recommend)
Thank you to the translator for their incredible work and their faithful reproduction of the text's meaning! Thank you for somehow managing to translate the elegance and insidiousness of Imperial politics into English.

The... more>> one thing I didn't like about the novel: (SPOILERS AHEAD YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED)

Spoiler

The first half of the novel depicted the Fengyi Sect as the grand overarching enemy. What made me uncomfortable about the author's depiction of the Fengyi Sect is that they demonized these traits in women: independence, participation in politics, strength. There was a huge emphasis on the traditional role of wives and a preference for the ancient patriarchal system. I'm not trying to defend the Fengyi Sect's other terrible actions though, and I agree that arbitrary killing of innocents and insufferable arrogance are just bad, no matter the gender. It's just that I think the author should have said the Fengyi Sect should be destroyed and their members condemned because of their criminal actions period, and not also because they were trying to 'usurp the patriarchal system'.

The author's depiction fits with the culture and way of things during that particular period of ancient Chinese history. However, as a modern reader, it was uncomfortable for me the way that patriarchal values were promoted with great deference. This won't be a problem to some readers of course, and this shouldn't stop you in any way from reading the novel. The novel is worth a look into! Just fair warning that it's not actually okay to treat women like this in real life.

[collapse]
<<less
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boredwayfarer
boredwayfarer rated it
May 6, 2017
Status: v5c37
This story has a very deep plot that spans a long way since the beginning, and highly intricate plots which may seem incredulous amazing and truthfully sometimes even lucky. But what I like most is the way the characters are so fleshed out, giving such personality to each character and their thoughts, in a way that shows warfare between people aren't even bad people, but very loyal, steadfast and righteous people born in different countries. Of course, there are other stories that may have done the same, maybe even better,... more>> but it doesn't mean this is not important nor makes this story any less better.

If you are interested in schemes, subterfuge, and characters who can make you tear (cry) for their deaths, I would like to recommend reading this <<less
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siddharth
siddharth rated it
December 26, 2017
Status: --
An absolute GEM!!!

This is one of my favorite novels. The strategies depicted in this novel are truly awe-inspiring. Seriously, how can a person without enough strength "to truss a chicken" can be so damn scary?! Even the emperor sh*ts his pants just hearing his name. I would recommend everyone to give this one a try and try to brave the heavy Chinese words.

PS: I request the translator to please complete the last volume _/\_
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Trent
Trent rated it
December 7, 2017
Status: v3c17
Very different from the usual fare, given how the MC is unable to cultivate at all, even being weak and sickly. All he has are his mind and medical skills, which he uses to great effect. Rather than being a physically powerful MC, he is able to influence the courses of nations with his words, which makes him more powerful than nearly any wuxia martial artist could be.

It might seem to be a slow-moving novel, but that’s not really the case. Every chapter progresses the plot, and time continuously moves forward in a very natural manner, largely thanks to the biographical excerpts at the beginnings of chapters. These also provide interesting limited perspectives into what future generations will know about what occurred.

It’s also nice that the MC actually gets recognized for his successes (the ones he doesn’t keep hidden, that is).

The story’s biggest weakness is that the author, who’s not a genius himself, makes nearly every character unintelligent so that the MC can actually advise and devise effective stratagems. This even and especially applies to princes, who, despite their royal educations, cannot come up with anything on their own, relying upon their advisers for even the simplest ideas. How are these guys famous generals, again? At the same time, the MC often shouldn’t be able to come up with the right answer with the limited information he’d seemed to have, but easily does so anyway. These issues aside, the characters and interactions are very well done.

The second noticeable weakness: The martial experts are common as clouds. It’s as if, because the MC himself can’t be a super talented fighter, the author bestows that honor upon his supporting martial artists. Their training and epiphanies are accelerated, letting them become experts in much shorter periods of time than everyone else seems to need. This is doubly the case for the MC’s right-hand man (and when does the guy even train, given how he’s shadowing the MC all day long?). While this helps protect the MC’s life and lets his plans come to fruition faster, it’s an annoying piece of a usually realistic story.

In conclusion, it’s an interesting and unusual story which gives characters solid personalities, but it falls short in establishing a believable system for the fighters and realistic levels of intelligence for the noncombatants.

And though we shouldn’t bring the translator and editor into this, their skill and effort are very evident in every chapter, and they convey authorial intentions remarkably well.
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DatRandomperson
DatRandomperson rated it
July 3, 2017
Status: --
To be honest, just the description got me fired up, and I was. It was a great novel, very different from the others and gave a sense of originality that many people would appreciate, BUT. And only because of this, I gave a 4/5 and not a full mark was because that sense of detachment in the novel. Only that turned me off, but maybe this novelty in perspective is a selling point to others.
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Privatejoker
Privatejoker rated it
June 25, 2017
Status: c177
Since this is my first review I may as well give it a decent shot.

Ill start with stating that The Grandmaster Strategist is NOT your usual Qidian CN.

As many other reviewers have stated this novel is amazing, Rather than the overly cliché plot settings that are typically found, The Grandmaster Strategist reads like a piece of historical fiction. With highly detailed world settings involving a mixture of politics, military strategy, personal intrigue, betrayal and more. There are many characters introduced and a complex series of relationships and personalities are developed... more>> which ensures that even when chapters focus on side characters rather than the main character, they remain significant and enjoyable.

One of the aspects that I like the most about this novel is the fact that the main character, Jiang Zhe's isn't a overbearing, excessively powerful martial cultivator, he is a scholar and a strategist. Cultivators exist in the story that is portrayed, but the focus of the novel isn't about a MC who works at becoming increasingly powerful, instead it details how Jiang Zhe uses his powerful intellect to manipulate the world around him in an effort to achieve his objectives. The presence of powerful martial cultivators add an additional layer without overpowering the actions of a single person, portraying the cultivators as humans capable of mistakes, in spite of their power.

I highly recommend this novel for people looking for a more serious read. The Grandmaster Strategist requires the reader to pay attention, there are so many disparate elements that missing can be effected by missing small amounts of text, often seemingly minor events play a significant role in future events.

In my opinion reading this novel and actually enjoying it would be difficult for the causal reader. Plot elements are often small details that are easy to miss and understanding their importance requires patience and comprehension. I must applaud the work of the translation team who is working on this team, the amount of poetry and references that they research must be significant.

All in all I find The Grandmaster Strategist to be a highly enjoyable read that I would suggest to anyone who is looking for a break from the more mainstream novels available. Additionally I would suggest that readers be prepared for some large info dumps that are really required to build the complex setting of the novel. In my opinion, reserve judgment until finishing at least the first book (ch 30), and the chapters are long. If you are able to, I believe that our patience will be rewarded.

If the pace seems to slow, or the amount of information overwhelming, by all means put it aside and spend your time elsewhere, what you read is for you own enjoyment. But do not forget of its existence! I think that at some point you as a reader will become excessively familiar to the typical plots and characters provided in a large majority of the novels here. When that time comes The Grandmaster Strategist will definitely be a refreshing change. <<less
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Linbe
Linbe rated it
May 17, 2017
Status: v4c28
This novel is amazing. Almost all the popular novels in NU have a great start which will pull in readers with it's originality and other noteworthy things. The authors of these novels start off with huge enthusiasm with the stories of novels mapped out for like 300 chapters or with a rough story outline for the whole series and then they lose momentum. They either lose the enthusiasm they had in the beginning or run out of juice and start repeating tropes.

All these novels will get a 5 star rating... more>> in the beginning and slowly people will rate it less and less. Then there are novels where the start is slow because the author wants to give us an introduction or for building up and then all the elements in the story comes together and the story falls into place. These novels get better and better ratings as the story progresses and are usually the better read.

But The Grandmaster Strategist is one such rare novel where the author not only had the whole story mapped out in his mind before starting the story but also the little details were also thought about well so that we wouldn't be that bored as we read the story. The MC is OP in one sense of the word but weak in another way. The side characters are given full attention with them even getting character development. The romance is pretty minimal but this was never supposed to be a romance novel. But I'm not saying that this novel is perfect. It also has problems but the thing is that most of these problems are not because of the author or the story, but because the story is a translation. People seem to forget that this story was never meant for the audience outside of China.

It gives a large amount of information and has a great deal of customs that we might feel are ridiculous. But the Chinese audience for which the story was meant to from the start will relate (I think). The only real problem I found was the sudden shift in PoV which may be a problem if you were not paying attention to the story. But TGS is not one of those brain off stories that we see in NU which we just read to have fun without having to think or make sense of. But this is a story which uses clever strategies and wordings which we have to pay attention to and apply our brain to to fully appreciate.

Tl;dr: TGS is a great story which is too under appreciated mainly because the audience in NU consists of people meaning to have a light read who may get bored from the ancient way of talking customs or large descriptions. But if fully appreciated is a gem which becomes more shiny the more you look at it. <<less
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Boon
Boon rated it
April 23, 2017
Status: v5c29
5/5. This might be the best novel on novelupdates. In sheer entertainment value it might fall behind only word of cultivation in my opinion, but I think it's a stronger novel overall.

This is nothing short of a webnovel masterpiece, hitting every high note that I enjoy in my CN action novels, and avoiding all the tropes and pitfalls. There is great characterization of the supporting allies and enemies, drawing a distinct and memorable picture of their personalities. The strategies are complex and well thought out, as you would hope from... more>> a novel with such a title. The enemies are strong and intelligent, giving anticipation to the coming conflicts; yet with his gentle character and as the novel starts with him recalling his past, it is still a relaxing and generally peaceful read.

A very intelligent MC with a iron will, gifted in every art but martial arts, gentle and merciful, but also decisive. Viewed by others as extraordinarily sinister for his methods. Since he has extraordinarily strong followers, there is always the satisfaction that he is a force to be reckoned with, despite his constantly poor health and frail body.

Great humor. Great Action. Great romance. Great intelligence. Great characters. Great plot. Great camaraderie.

This review really doesn't do it justice, and I'll have to properly review it later. 5/5 <<less
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xianxia_reader
xianxia_reader rated it
March 9, 2017
Status: v5c1
Before writing a review about the novel, let me first get around one of the criticism this novel might get/is getting. One of the noticeable things about Chinese LNs is that instead of taking the slow approach, they rather do an information dump. For example a typical xianxia novel will talk about the levels of cultivation or the place MC belongs to in detail, only to make the information moot later when you find that MC is somehow cultivation understanding was lowest of the low and the place he belongs... more>> was literally a village in the corner of the world, even if it is called "city" earlier. Second thing noticeable is paragraphs tend to be super long. For example, if talking about a "sect" everything is dumped within a single paragraph - location, halls, master, master's appearance etc etc. While it could actually make information easily digestible by breaking it down to what, who and why. Maybe that is because of the Chinese grammar rules. For people not into reading Chinese literature a lot, this comes off as info being a "wall of text". Now as for the novel, from my limited knowledge I can think of three levels of Chinese LNs - one the xianxia types where there is an information dump but then it has some excitement added in, then there is stuff written by Fengling Tianxia - Transcending the Nine Heavens etc, which tend to get talky a bit but also have the typical xianxia stuff added. So before reading this give Transcending the Nine Heavens etc a try, specially the first world arc. If you can stand the amount of talking spent on strategies, then this might be for you. If not, skip it.

The annoying thing about this novel is narrative - lot of time it is a first person, grandmaster's, narrative and everything is "I" and "me" but it will change the flow mid-paragraphs to third person narrative. If you are a speed reader like me you will be frequently confused and have to re-read what you just read. Still a 4 because of the story. It doesn't get talky a lot but that's how I guess how wuxia's are supposed to be. <<less
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keialpha
keialpha
January 23, 2019
Status: c30
I can only give this story 2 star, for the author being dishonest about his writing. Despite how it appears, this is a soul transmigration story, and the MC has a rather generic OP power often seen in these kind of stories, which is the knowledge obtained in a modern education. However, rather than regular stories where the modern knowledge is explained by a modern MC reborn into history, and this OP power is acknowledged; the author just pretend the MC has no OP power, somehow obtained these knowledge naturally,... more>> and call that "natural talent". That is being very dishonest.

There are a lot of poetry here. They are important plot points, as these poetry are well written and make him into literary genius. All the beautiful girls and women welcome him with open arms because he can write these legendary poems. These poems are also used for political purpose to shame and kill people. From the translator's notes, all the poems are from legendary poems by legendary poets. The MC just claim them as his own creation without batting an eye.

And when he needs money, all of a sudden he can design something new never before seen, so he changes from a poor scholar into a rich inventor overnight. The only real explanation is he takes modern design into the past and no one has seen it before so he looks like a genius.

In similar stories, the MC at least acknowledge he is using other people's work to get ahead, it is not his own fruit of labor, and it is an OP power no one else has. But here, the MC claim it as his own. The MC is not a genius, just a plagiarist.

It is not surprising this is a Chinese novel. Intellectual property theft is very common in China, and this story just take it for granted that to be OP and obtain power, stealing intellectual property is a natural thing to do. I just cannot accept this way of thinking and enjoy this story. <<less
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Saladinxc
Saladinxc
November 6, 2018
Status: v5c19
This is, what is it, the greatest novel that I read in last 3 years.

The way it write stories, the way they convey characters feeling, the timing of happening, and the realism of time flow. I don't know. Everything about this novel is perfect. The imperfection of protagonist make the story has a better nuance than most novel that always keep the happening happen immediately.

Too bad the novel has not finished, a little bit more.
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c888
c888 rated it
February 21, 2018
Status: v6c7
You'll love the characters in this story, the characters are so well developed in all their strengths and weakness that you'll root for them, rather they are the MC or the enemies of the MC. Another reason why you'll like this story is that even when you want the MC to win, you'll also empathize with the MC's enemies who have their own motivations. I usually drop stories because the characters are so 2D but here the characteristics are richly developed and layered.
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Victor DoUrden
Victor DoUrden
August 29, 2017
Status: --
No where as good as people make it out to be. It reads quite dryly and lack of detail if any to who looks like what aside from a name. Like a boring history book. The chauvinism typical in many chinese works is also fairly prevalent here. There is no draw or reason to give a f**k about anyone really. Some parts that could possibly be interesting are totally skipped

eg. He was going over there bam he arrived! Or some objective he is going to____ he did it

Also some parts... more>> are just total bullsh*t in regards to his blind luck. I haven't even gotten fair and there are parts where it's 10% his wits 90% pure blind luck. <<less
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